Mental Health Awareness Week: The Medication Debate

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Medication is a huge debate whether you have a mental illness or not. It’s something that definitely needs to be spoken about more, in fact I think it’s one of the biggest reasons that people are reluctant to talk about mental illness. There are some people that are of the opinion that those who take medication are taking the ‘easy way out’ or mean that people don’t want to try, as someone with experience neither of these are true. The other extreme belief is that all medication turns you into a zombie, someone who can’t think or do anything for themselves, again an image of simply giving up.

From my own personal experience and the experience of every single person I’ve spoken to about medication it is definitely NOT the easiest solution. While it’s right to say that medication is not for everyone  and some people don’t want to take them, that’s fine. For me I’d tried so many other things counselling being the main route, trying to sleep properly, nothing was working. I was emotionally and physically exhausted when a doctor asked me if I just wanted to try and see how it goes, because I looked completely at the end of my teather. That was the first time and I freaked out about the stigma surrounding them and I just quit, I was done. Then a while later I got at a low stage again and decided to give it a go, the side effects were horrendous. I didn’t sleep for three days, I felt sick all the time, I was sick, I called my doctor to ask if this was normal (it was my first experience of insomnia) who said give it a few more days and see. Luckily this time I carried on, after a few adjustments, reviews and such I eventually settled.

There are a lot of horror stories and it’s rare for someone to go on medication and it be right for them instantly. There’s usually a lot of adjustments, a lot of change. A lot of people ask me why, why put this in your body? For a long time I struggled, who was I, why did my stupid body need these tablets? I really beat myself up constantly. I didn’t want to be someone who relied on medication to function, I didn’t feel normal. That said I could see changed after about a month, it’s hard to describe online, hell it’s even hard to describe in person. It’s like for a long time I was walking around with this fog in my head, everything I did felt wrong, heavy and even when I was happy there was something in me that constantly tugged at my happiness. When the medication worked I wasn’t fixed, but the fog cleared and I could finally think and see things clearer. After I took my medication I started to go back to who I was before the depression took hold of me and I started trusting myself again.

It took a long time but my mentor reminded me of this quote:

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I wasn’t scared of the medication, it helped me after years of just feeling like I was drowning I had some calmness. No one would ever dream of telling a diabetic not to take insulin because of the fact ‘it changes their body’ well, yeah that’s the point. While there are some negative aspects of medication and again, it’s not for everyone BUT it can help. Who has the right to dictate whether or not someone should take something if it does make them feel better, if it enables them to tackle the day or makes the tough days a little bit easier.

It’s the same for me with anything medical, if it’s not your body then you can’t really dictate anything. I truly believe that unless you’ve been through something you can’t judge someone else. Stigma related to taking a medication that makes you well doesn’t really make any sense to me. Like I said, it’s not the easy way out, a quick fix or anything like that without going to see a mentor once a week for a long time my medication wouldn’t have been very effective. People need to work through their problems or the root cause of their depression, sometimes medication makes it a little clearer and a little easier to talk about.

I refuse to be ashamed of treatment for a health condition, neither should you.

 

As always let me know your comments, questions and just generally chat below!

 

Today’s MH Update: Felt a little overwhelmed today and did have a bit of a crumble BUT now feeling very positive and happier!

 

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